What a week!
As Everton unveiled a new dawn last week with the signings of Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen, fans were left stunned at the turn of events.
Normally left rationalizing as our Board scraped the bottom of barrel for the cheapest deals around, which usually happened in August, this year is totally different.
Beyond Pickford and Klaassen, rumors of an imminent deal for Malaga striker Sandro Ramirez has kept everyone on edge.
Have the Toffees really turned a corner?
Is everything different now?
Seriously...is Arouna Kone gone?
Well, with so much to talk about let’s get right to it.
MAGIC 8 BALL TIME!
Question: When all is said and done is Ross going to regret how this has all played out?
With the signing of Davy Klaassen (more on that later) it seems like it is only a matter of time before Ross hits the road.
While Klaassen and Barkley could certainly operate together on the pitch, whats just as telling is that there has been ZERO talk of a new contract.
Now, I am not in the boardroom so I can’t say for sure what is going on, but Koeman doesn’t mince words and if he was REALLY pressed on keeping the mercurial midfielder around he would say so.
As it stands, Everton are actually getting their deals done early enough where a mid-summer sale of Barkley won’t handcuff the squad in the all important late July Europa League qualifiers, but there’s more of that later.
On the topic of signings, there is one last point to make.
As my good friend Chris from Royal Blue Mersey pointed out, at Pickford’s signing he looked like he was a youth player signing his first pro contract.
This is not a new phenomenon around Goodison though, with a few other new signees appearing to be well under the drinking age, no matter what country you are in.
I have too much time on my hands......
Let’s get to your questions!
It seems EFC have a friendly with every other team in the world. Along w/ EL qualifying will we be run into the ground come December?— jon hein (@jdhein13) June 20, 2017
It certainly does feel like the fixtures are piling up.
In all of the fuss over the newest Everton signings, some fans may have missed the fact the Toffees have lined up a number of friendlies before the beginning of the 2017/2018 Premier League season.
However, with this seasons Europa League qualifiers kicking the competitive season off in late July for the Blues, I have also wondered about how the team will balance the ever-growing fixture list.
First, let’s take a look at the schedule:
Side note: That calendar took me FOREVER to finish, after many critiques from the RBM family. I tweeted it out last night if you are looking for a copy! @foleysthoughts
Ok..back on track....
We ARE busy.
If we are able to make it into the Europa League Group stage and win a few rounds of the Carabao Cup (what the f%^& is Carabao??), the squad could play 39 times (including friendlies) before the new year!!
So what’s the deal??
To sort out what feels like an over abundance of meaningless matches, I laid it out in the chart above, and when I did that Koeman’s plan began to take form and my fears were quelled.
When the Toffees take the pitch on July 27th, the squad can’t afford to be in preseason form.
In order to even GET to the playoff rounds in August the team will need to be able to WIN in July against (insert domestically successful nothing-to-lose squad here).
Getting everyone up to speed will be of the utmost importance. With the brutal first few weeks of the premier league season looming, and a LARGE number of new squad members, our Dutch manager is going to have to use every opportunity to grow team cohesion and rhythm.
Getting in three friendlies will allow Koeman to fine tune the squad as he sees fit, including rotating players through so that the players he needs ready for thebig Europa League are fit and in sync.
This point also belies the INCREDIBLE importance of the Toffees doing their shopping in the transfer market early.
Based on the early signings and hints of more to come soon, it is clear that this point was not lost on the Everton decision makers.
Pickford and Klassen (and presumably Sandro) will have full preseasons with the squad. When they report in a few weeks they will hit the ground running so that by late July the team will be chugging along.
Looking at the schedule, if the team can get to the first international break/ end of the transfer window at the beginning of September without the wheels falling off or glaring holes presenting themselves, I think the Toffees will be in good shape.
To me, one of the biggest variables in the upcoming season is the young kids.
Can DCL, Lookman, Besic and the other young players push into the regular rotation and show the skipper that they can be trusted to win a Caribou (I don’t care how it’s spelled) Cup match and provide sufficient depth so that Koeman does not have to ask too much of our best players and wear them out.
How the team deals with the schedule will be of the utmost importance, but between Koeman’s first go round and the beginning of this off season I have no reason to doubt the Toffees won’t be adequately prepared to handle the matches.
What do I do with my hands?— Alex Miller (@alex_miller55) June 20, 2017
Is there a better thing to see by a player than “CONCENTRATION: STRONG”?
Maybe he’s a Jedi?!?!
Definitely a Jedi.
and one just for laughs....
Ok, one more..
Can you explain to me what's going on in this image? pic.twitter.com/mwZfjJspX3— Adam Braun (@abraun_15) June 20, 2017
No.....no I can’t.
I mean....how did this shoot go??
Photographer: Great Ade....you’re doing wonderful....now I want to bring in the rocket pop.
Ademola: What did you just say?
Photographer: Somebody bring in the cooler....I need a fresh pop NOW!
Photographer: Don’t worry, it will look natural...now put up a number 1...perfect!!
I mean I enjoy a good summer refreshment as much as the next guy, but I’m not sure I would kick off my pro career by posing with a picture of a Choco-Taco.
To be fair though, maybe it’s the fact that Ademola looks 12 in that picture that makes it so awkward.
It’s difficult to appear tough and imposing while holding a Rocket Pop.
(I actually do have an ice cream truck story that reulted in numerous injuries and multiple family members with Blue Bunny tattoos but that is neither here nor there. PS: We were the good guys..........I think.)
Anyways.....back on track.....
Desserts and tough guys just don’t mix.
Think about the movie Grease.
The T-Birds were the toughest guys around...then they trailed their fearless leader Danny Zuko (IT’S NOT KENICKIE...I DON’T CARE WHAT THE SCRIPT SAYS!) into a malt shop and lost their mojo.
They went from rocking on roadsters:
To romancing over Rocky Road
Anyways......the point is that desserts and sports just don’t mix.
Let’s see how even the most established stars look toting about a frozen treat while proclaiming their position in the soccer world.
What about Cristiano? There’s NOTHING he can’t pull off.
Ok...maybe even HE can’t pull off the Sno Cone.
It’s alright Ade, you can take solace knowing that this photo shoot is nowhere NEAR the worst soccer-related photo-shoot.
Team USA’s 2002 World Cup shoot will go down as the worst in history.
You will even recognize some former Blues.
You are welcome.....and I’m sorry.
Let’s kick it off with Brian McBride, who may or may not be pole dancing.
Clint Mathis, who you may not have known is also the lead singer of Sugar Ray.
Did they tranquilize Cobi Jones to get him to take this picture? Are his hands tied up?? Cobi?? Are you ok?? Did you take the blue pill?!?!?
Colorado Rapids manager and Salsa instructor, Pablo Mastroeni.
and last but not least......sorry Toffee fans.. I know he was great when in blue....but I give you Landon Donovan....
(Caption not needed.)
Maybe holding a popsicle isn’t all that bad after all.
Koeman making deals
Steve Walsh jetting to Milan
Who are the Blues now??
This guy got his former Swansea players mixed up....
Don’t forget, you can have your question answered in the mailbag! Just hit us up on Twitter @rbmersey and @foleysthoughts or find Royal Blue Mersey on Facebook!